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Message  Javier Mer 26 Fév 2020, 6:02 am

MEDITATIONS FOR EACH DAY OF LENT

by ST. THOMAS AQUINAS, O.P.



Ash Wednesday : Death

By one man sin entered into this world, and by sin death.--Rom. v. 12.


1. If for some wrongdoing a man is deprived of some benefit once given to him, that he should lack that benefit is the punishment of his sin.

Now, in man's first creation he was divinely endowed with this advantage that, so long as his mind remained subject to God, the lower powers of his soul were subjected to the reason and the body was subjected to the soul.

But because by sin man's mind moved away from its subjection to God, it followed that the lower parts of his mind ceased to be wholly subjected to the reason. From this there followed such a rebellion of the bodily inclination against the reason, that the body was no longer wholly subject to the soul.

Whence followed death and all the bodily defects. For life and wholeness of body are bound up with this, that the body is wholly subject to the soul, as a thing which can be made perfect is subject to that which makes it perfect. So it comes about that, conversely, there are such things as death, sickness and every other bodily defect, for such misfortunes are bound up with an incomplete subjection of body to soul.


2. The rational soul is of its nature immortal, and therefore death is not natural to man in so far as man has a soul. It is natural to his body, for the body, since it is formed of things contrary to each other in nature, is necessarily liable to corruption, and it is in this respect that death is natural to man.

But God who fashioned man is all powerful. And hence, by an advantage conferred on the first man, He took away that necessity of dying which was bound up with the matter of which man was made. This advantage was however withdrawn through the sin of our first parents.

Death is then natural, if we consider the matter of which man is made and it is a penalty, inasmuch as it happens through the loss of the privilege whereby man was preserved from dying.


3. Sin--original sin and actual sin--is taken away by Christ, that is to say, by Him who is also the remover of all bodily defects. He shall quicken also your mortal bodies, because of His Spirit that dwelleth in you (Rom. viii. II).

But, according to the order appointed by a wisdom that is divine, it is at the time which best suits that Christ takes away both the one and the other, i.e., both sin and bodily defects.

Now it is only right that, before we arrive at that glory of impassibility and immortality which began in Christ, and which was acquired for us through Christ, we should be shaped after the pattern of Christ's sufferings. It is then only right that Christ's liability to suffer should remain in us too for a time, as a means of our coming to the impassibility of glory in the way He himself came to it.


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Message  Javier Ven 28 Fév 2020, 5:16 am

Thursday: Fasting


1. We fast for three reasons.

(i) To check the desires of the flesh. So St. Paul says in fastings, in chastity (2 Cor. vi. 5), meaning that fasting is a safeguard for chastity. As St. Jerome says, "Without Ceres, and Bacchus, Venus would freeze," as much as to say that lust loses its heat through spareness of food and drink.

(ii) That the mind may more freely raise itself to contemplation of the heights. We read in the book of Daniel that it was after a fast of three weeks that he received the revelation from God (Dan. x. 2-4).

(iii) To make satisfaction for sin. This is the reason given by the prophet Joel, Be converted to me with all your heart, in fasting and in weeping and in mourning (Joel ii. 12). And here is what St. Augustine writes on the matter. "Fasting purifies the soul. It lifts up the mind, and it brings the body into subjection to the spirit. It makes the heart contrite and humble, scatters the clouds of desire, puts out the flames of lust and the true light of chastity."


2. There is commandment laid on us to fast. For fasting helps to destroy sin, and to raise the mind to thoughts of the spiritual world. Each man is then bound, by the natural law of the matter, to fast just as much as is necessary to help him in these matters. Which is to say that fasting in general is a matter of natural law. To determine, however, when we shall fast and how, according to what suits and is of use to the Catholic body, is a matter of positive law. To state the positive law is the business of the bishops, and what is thus stated by them is called ecclesiastical fasting, in contradistinction with the natural fasting previously mentioned.


3. The times fixed for fasting by the Church are well chosen. Fasting has two objects in view:

(i) The destruction of sin, and

(ii) the lifting of the mind to higher things.


The times self-indicated for fasting are then those in which men are especially bound to free themselves from sin and to raise their minds to God in devotion. Such a time especially is that which precedes that solemnity of Easter in which baptism is administered and sin thereby destroyed, and when the burial of Our Lord is recalled, for we are buried together with Christ by baptism into death (Rom. vi. 4). Then, too, at Easter most of all, men's minds should be lifted, through devotion to the glory of that eternity which Christ in His resurrection inaugurated.


Wherefore the Church has decreed that immediately before the solemnity of Easter we must fast, and, for a similar reason, that we must fast on the eves of the principal feasts, setting apart those days as opportune to prepare ourselves for the devout celebration of the feasts themselves.
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Message  Javier Sam 29 Fév 2020, 1:05 pm

Friday: The Crown of Thorns


Go forth, ye daughters of Sion, and see king Solomon in the diadem, wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the joy of his heart.--Cant. iii. n.


This is the voice of the Church inviting the souls of the faithful to behold the marvellous beauty of her spouse. For the daughters of Sion, who are they but the daughters of Jerusalem, holy souls, the citizens of that city which is above, who with the angels enjoy the peace that knows no end, and, in consequence, look upon the glory of the Lord?


1. Go forth, shake off the disturbing commerce of this world so that, with minds set free, you may be able to contemplate him whom you love. And see king Solomon, the true peacemaker, that is to say, Christ Our Lord.


In the diadem wherewith his mother crowned him, as though the Church said, "Look on Christ garbed with flesh for us, the flesh He took from the flesh of His mother." For it is His flesh that is here called a diadem, the flesh which Christ assumed for us, the flesh in which He died and destroyed the reign of death, the flesh in which, rising once again, He brought to us the hope of resurrection.


This is the diadem of which St. Paul speaks, We see Jesus for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honour (Heb. ii. 9). His mother is spoken of as crowning Him because Mary the Virgin it was who from her own flesh gave Him flesh.


In the day of His espousals, that is, in the hour of His Incarnation, when He took to Himself the Church not having spot or wrinkle (Eph. v. 27), the hour again when God was joined with man. And in the day of the joy of his heart. For the joy and the gaiety of Christ is for the human race salvation and redemption. And coming home, He calls together His friends and neighbours saying to them, Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep that was lost (Luke xv. 6).


2. We can however refer the whole of this text simply and literally to the Passion of Christ. For Solomon, foreseeing through the centuries the Passion of Christ, was uttering a warning for the daughters of Sion, that is, for the Jewish people.


Go forth and see king Solomon, that is, Christ, in His diadem, that is to say, the crown of thorns with which His mother the Synagogue has crowned Him; in the day of His espousals, the day when He joined to Himself the Church; and in the day of the joy of His heart, the day in which He rejoiced that by His Passion He was delivering the world from the power of the devil. Go forth, therefore, and leave behind the darkness of unbelief, and see, understand with your minds that He who suffers as man is really God.


Go forth, beyond the gates of your city, that you may see Him, on Mount Calvary, crucified.
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Message  Javier Dim 01 Mar 2020, 4:43 am

Saturday: The Grain of Wheat

Unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, itself remaineth alone.--John xii. 24.


1. We use the grain of wheat in two ways, for bread and for seed. Here the word is to be taken in the second sense, grain of wheat meaning seed and not the matter out of which we make bread. For in this sense it never increases so as to bear fruit. When it is said that the grain must die, this does not mean that it loses its value as seed, but that it is changed into another kind of thing. So St. Paul (i Cor. xv. 36) says, That which then thou sowest is not quickened, except it die first.


The Word of God is a seed in the soul of man, in so far as it is a thing introduced into man's soul, by words spoken and heard, in order to produce the fruit of good works, The seed is the Word of God (Luke viii. II). So also the Word of God garbed in flesh is a seed placed in the world, a seed from which great crops should grow, whence it is compared in St. Matthew's Gospel (xiii. 31, 32) to a grain of mustard seed.


Our Lord therefore says to us, "I came as seed, something meant to bear fruit and therefore I say to you, Unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, itself remaineth alone" which is as much as to say, "Unless I die the fruit of the conversion of the Gentiles will not follow." He compares Himself to a grain of wheat, because He came to nourish and to sustain the minds of men, and to nourish and sustain are precisely what wheaten bread does for men. In the Psalms it is written, That bread may strengthen man's heart (Ps. ciii. 15), and in St. John, The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world (John vi. 52).


2. But if it die it bringeth forth much fruit (John xii. 25). What is here explained is the usefulness of the Passion. It is as though the gospel said, Unless the grain fall into the earth through the humiliations of the Passion, no useful result will follow, for the grain itself remaineth alone. But if it shall die, done to death and slain by the Jews, it bringeth forth much fruit, for example:


(i) The remission of sin. This is the whole fruit, that the sin thereby should be taken away (Isaias xxvii. 9). And this is the fruit of the Passion of Christ as is declared by St. Peter, Christ died once for our sins, the just for the unjust that he might offer us to God (i Pet. iii. 18).


(ii) The conversion of the Gentiles to God. I have appointed you that you shall go forth and bring forth fruit and that your fruit should remain (John xv. 16). This fruit the Passion of Christ bore, if I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all things to myself (John xii. 32).


(iii) The fruit of Glory. The fruit of good labours is glorious (Wis. iii. 15). And this fruit also the Passion of Christ brought forth; We have therefore a confidence in the entering into the Holies by the blood of Christ: a new and living way which He hath dedicated for us through the veil, that is to say, His flesh (Hebr. x. 19).

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Message  Javier Mer 04 Mar 2020, 4:32 am

First Week in Lent Sunday


It was fitting that Christ should be tempted

Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted
by the devil.
Matt. iv. i.


Christ willed to be tempted:

1. That He might assist us against our own temptations. St. Gregory says, "That our Redeemer, who had come on
earth to be killed, should will to be tempted was not unworthy of Him. It was indeed but just that he should overcome our temptations by His own, in the same way that He had come to overcome our death by His death."



2. To warn us that no man, however holy he be, should think himself safe and free from temptation. Whence again His choosing to be tempted after His baptism, about which St. Hilary says, "The devil's wiles are especially directed to trap us at times when we have recently been made holy, because the devil desires no victory so much as a victory over the world of grace." Whence too, the scripture warns us, Son, when thou comest to the service of God, stand in justice and in fear, and prepare thy soul for temptation (Ecclus. ii. i).


3. To give us an example how we should over come the temptations of the devil, St. Augustine says, "Christ gave Himself to the devil to be tempted, that in the matter of our overcoming those same temptations He might be of service not only by His help but by His example too."


4. To fill and saturate our minds with confidence in His mercy. For we have not a high-priest who cannot have compassion on our infirmities, but one tempted in all things, like as we are, without sin (Heb. iv. 15).


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Message  Javier Mer 04 Mar 2020, 4:40 am

Monday After First Sunday of Lent

Christ had to be tempted in the desert

He was in the desert forty days and forty nights: and was tempted by Satan. Mark i. 13.

1. It was by Christ's own will that He was exposed to the temptation by the devil, as it was also by His own will that He was exposed to be slain by the limbs of the devil. Had He not so willed, the devil would never have dared to approach Him.

The devil is always more disposed to attack those who are alone, because, as is said in Sacred Scripture, If a man shall prevail against one, two shall withstand him easily (Eccles. iv. 12). That is why Christ went out into the desert, as one going out to a battle-ground, that there He might be tempted by the devil. Whereupon St. Ambrose says that Christ went into the desert for the express purpose of provoking the devil. For unless the devil had fought, Christ would never have overcome him for me.

St. Ambrose gives other reasons too. He says that Christ chose the desert as the place to be tempted for a hidden reason, namely that he might free from His exile Adam who, from Paradise, was driven into the desert; and again that He did it for a reason in which there is no mystery, namely to show us that the devil envies those who are tending towards a better life.


2. We say with St. Chrysostom that Christ exposed Himself to the temptation because the devil most of all tempts those whom he sees alone. So in the very beginning of things he tempted the woman, when he found her away from her husband. It does not however follow from this that a man ought to throw himself into any occasion of temptation that presents itself.

Occasions of temptation are of two kinds. One kind arises from man's own action, when, for example, man himself goes near to sin, not avoiding the occasion of sin. That such occasions are to be avoided we know, and Holy Scripture reminds us of it. Stay not in any part of the country round about Sodom (Gen. xix. 17). The second kind of occasion arises from the devil's constant envy of those who are tending to better things, as St. Ambrose says, and this occasion of temptation is not one we must avoid. So, according to St. John Chrysostom, not only Christ was led into the desert by the Holy Ghost, but all the children of God who possess the Holy Ghost are led in like manner. For God's children are never content to sit down with idle hands, but the Holy Ghost ever urges them to undertake for God some great work. And this, as far as the devil is concerned, is to go into the desert, for in the desert there is none of that wickedness which is the devil's delight. Every good work is as it were a desert to the eye of the world and of our flesh, for good works are contrary to the desire of the world and of our flesh.

To give the devil such an opportunity of temptation as this is not dangerous, for it is much more the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, who is the promoter of every perfect work, that prompts us than the working of the devil who hates them all.


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Message  Javier Mer 04 Mar 2020, 4:51 am

Tuesday After First Sunday of Lent

Christ underwent every kind of suffering

"Every kind of suffering." The things men suffer may be understood in two ways. By "kind" we may mean a particular, individual suffering, and in this sense there was no reason why Christ should suffer every kind of suffering, for many kinds of suffering are contrary the one to the other, as for example, to be burnt and to be drowned. We are of course speaking of Our Lord as suffering from causes outside himself, for to suffer the suffering effected by internal causes, such as bodily sickness, would not have become him. But if by "kind" we mean the class, then Our Lord did suffer by every kind of suffering, as we can show in three ways:

1. By considering the men through whom He suffered. For He suffered something at the hands of Gentiles and of Jews, of men and even of women as the story of the servant girl who accused St. Peter goes to show. He suffered, again, at the hands of rulers, of their ministers, and of the people, as was prophesied, Why have the Gentiles raged; and the people devised vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the princes met together against the Lord and against his Christ (Ps. ii. i, 2).

He suffered, too, from His friends, the men He knew best, for Peter denied Him and Judas betrayed Him.


2. If we consider the things through which suffering is possible. Christ suffered in the friends who deserted Him, and in His good name through the blasphemies uttered against Him. He suffered in the respect, in the glory, due to Him through the derision and contempt bestowed upon Him. He suffered in things, for He was stripped even of His clothing; in His soul, through sadness, through weariness and through fear; in His body through wounds and the scourging.


3. If we consider what He underwent in His various parts. His head suffered through the crown of piercing thorns, His hands and feet through the nails driven through them, His face from the blows and the defiling spittle, and His whole body through the scourging.

He suffered in every sense of His body. Touch was afflicted by the scourging and the nailing, taste by the vinegar and gall, smell by the stench of corpses as He hung on the cross in that place of the dead which is called Calvary. His hearing was torn with the voices of mockers and blasphemers, and He saw the tears of His mother and of the disciple whom He loved. If we only consider the amount of suffering required, it is true that one suffering alone, the least indeed of all, would have sufficed to redeem the human race from all its sins. But if we look at the fitness of the matter, it had to be that Christ should suffer in all the kinds of sufferings.



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Message  Javier Mer 04 Mar 2020, 5:03 am

Wednesday After First Sunday of Lent

How Great was the Sorrow of Our Lord in His Passion?

Attend and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow. Lam. i. 12.


Our Lord as He suffered felt really, and in His senses, that pain which is caused by some harmful bodily thing. He also felt that interior pain which is caused by the fear of something harmful and which we call sadness. In both these respects the pain suffered by Our Lord was the greatest pain possible in this present life. There are four reasons why this was so.


1. The causes of the pain.

The cause of the pain in the senses was the breaking up of the body, a pain whose bitterness derived partly from the fact that the sufferings attacked every part of His body, and partly from the fact that of all species of torture death by crucifixion is undoubtedly the most bitter. The nails are driven through the most sensitive of all places, the hands and the feet, the weight of the body itself increases the pain every moment. Add to this the long drawn-out agony, for the crucified do not die immediately as do those who are beheaded.


The cause of the internal pain was:

(i) All the sins of all mankind for which, by suffering, He was making satisfaction, so that, in a sense, He took them to Him as though they were His own. The words of my sins, it says in the Psalms (Ps. xxi. 2).

(ii) The special case of the Jews and the others who had had a share in the sin of His death, and especially the case of His disciples for whom His death had been a thing to be ashamed of.

(iii) The loss of his bodily life, which, by the nature of things, is something from which human nature turns away in horror.


2. We may consider the greatness of the pain according to the capacity, bodily and spiritual, for suffering of Him who suffered. In His body He was most admirably formed, for it was formed by the miraculous operation of the Holy Ghost, and therefore its sense of touch, that sense through which we experience pain, was of the keenest. His soul likewise, from its interior powers, had a knowledge as from experience of all the causes of sorrow.


3. The greatness of Our Lord's suffering can be considered in regard to this that the pain and sadness were without any alleviation. For in the case of no matter what other sufferer the sadness of mind, and even the bodily pain, is lessened through a certain kind of reasoning, by means of which there is brought about a distraction of the sorrow from the higher powers to the lower. But when Our Lord suffered this did not happen, for He allowed each of His powers to act and suffer to the fullness of its special capacity.


4. We may consider the greatness of the suffering of Christ in the Passion in relation to this fact that the Passion and the pain it brought with it were deliberately undertaken by Christ with the object of freeing man from sin. And therefore He undertook to suffer an amount of pain proportionately equal to the extent of the fruit that was to follow from the Passion.

From all these causes, if we consider them together, it will be evident that the pain suffered by Christ was the greatest pain ever suffered.


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Message  Javier Dim 08 Mar 2020, 6:16 am

Thursday After First Sunday

It was fitting that Christ should be Crucified with the thieves


Christ was crucified between the thieves because such was the will of the Jews, and also because this was part of
God's design. But the reasons why this was appointed were not the same in each of these cases.


1. As far as the Jews were concerned Our Lord was crucified with the thieves on either side to encourage the suspicion that he too was a criminal. But it fell out otherwise. The thieves themselves have left not a trace in the remembrance of man, while His cross is everywhere held in honour. Kings laying aside their crowns have broidered the cross on their royal robes. They have placed it on their crowns; on their arms. It has its place on the very altars. Everywhere, throughout the world, we behold the splendour of the cross.

In God's plan Christ was crucified with the thieves in order that, as for our sakes he became accursed of the cross, so, for our salvation, He is crucified like an evil thing among evil things.


2. The Pope St. Leo the Great says that the thieves were crucified, one on either side of Him, so that in the very appearance of the scene of His suffering there might be set forth that distinction which should be made in the judgment of each one of us. St. Augustine has the same thought. "The cross itself," he says, "was a tribunal. In the centre was the judge. To the one side a man who believed and was set free, to the other side a scoffer and he was condemned." Already there was made clear the final fate of the living and the dead, the one class placed at His right, the other on His left.


3. According to St. Hilary the two thieves, placed to right and to left, typify that the whole of mankind is called to the mystery of Our Lord's Passion. And since division of things according to right and left is made with reference to believers and those who will not believe, one of the two, placed on the right, is saved by justifying faith.


4. As St. Bede says, the thieves who were crucified with Our Lord, represent those who for the faith and to confess Christ undergo the agony of martyrdom or the severe discipline of a more perfect life. Those who do this for the sake of eternal glory are typified by the thief on the right hand. Those whose motive is the admiration of whoever beholds them imitate the spirit and the act of the thief on the left-hand side.

As Christ owed no debt in payment for which a man must die, but submitted to death of His own will, in order to overcome death, so also He had not done anything on account of which He deserved to be put with the thieves. But of His own will He chose to be reckoned among the wicked, that by His power He might destroy wickedness itself. Which is why St. John Chrysostom says that to convert the thief on the cross and to turn him to Paradise was as great a miracle as the earthquake.


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Message  Javier Dim 08 Mar 2020, 6:31 am

Friday After First Sunday

The Feast of the Holy Lance and the Nails of Our Lord


One of the soldiers with a spear opened His side, and immediately there came out blood and water.--John xix. 34.


1. The gospel deliberately says opened and not wounded, because through Our Lord's side there was opened to us the gate of eternal life. After these things I looked, and behold a gate was opened in heaven (Apoc. iv. i). This is the door opened in the ark, through which enter the animals who will not perish in the flood.


2. But this door is the cause of our salvation. Immediately there came forth blood and water a thing truly miraculous, that, from a dead body, in which the blood congeals, blood should come forth.

This was done to show that by the Passion of Christ we receive a full absolution, an absolution from every sin and every stain. We receive this absolution from sin through that blood which is the price of our redemption. You were not redeemed with corruptible things as gold or silver, from your vain conversation with the tradition of your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled (i Pet. i. 18).

We were absolved from every stain by the water, which is the laver of our redemption. In the prophet Ezechiel it is said, I will pour upon you clean water, and you shall be cleaned from all your filthiness (Ezech. xxxvi. 28), and in Zacharias, There shall be a fountain open to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for the washing of the sinner and the unclean woman (Zach. xiii. i).

And so these two things may be thought of in relation to two of the sacraments, the water to baptism and the blood to the Holy Eucharist. Or both may be referred to the Holy Eucharist since, in the Mass, water is mixed with the wine. Although the water is not of the substance of the sacrament.

Again, as from the side of Christ asleep in death on the cross there flowed that blood and water in which the Church is consecrated, so from the side of the sleeping Adam was formed the first woman, who herself foreshadowed the Church.



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Message  Javier Dim 08 Mar 2020, 6:39 am

Saturday After First Sunday

The Love of God Shown in the Passion of Christ


God commendeth His charity towards us: because when as yet we were sinners, according to the time, Christ died for us.--Rom. v. 8, 9


1. Christ died for the ungodly (ibid. 6). This is a great thing if we consider who it is that died, a great thing also if we consider on whose behalf he died. For scarce for a just man, will one die (ibid. 6), that is to say, that you will hardly find anyone who will die even to set free a man who is innocent, nay even it is said, The just perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart (Isaias lvii).

Rightly therefore does St. Paul say scarce will one die. There might perhaps be found one, some one rare person who out of superabundance of courage would be so bold as to die for a good man. But this is rare, for the simple reason that so to act is the greatest of all things. Greater love than this no man hath, says Our Lord himself, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John xv. 13).

But the like of what Christ did himself, to die for evildoers and the wicked, has never been seen. Wherefore rightly do we ask in wonderment why Christ did it.


2. If in fact it be asked why Christ died for the wicked, the answer is that God in this way commendeth His charity towards us. He shows us in this way that He loves us with a love that knows no limits, for while we were as yet sinners Christ died for us.

The very death of Christ for us shows the love of God, for it was His son whom He gave to die that satisfaction might be made for us. God so loved the world, as to give His only begotten Son (John iii. 16). And thus as the love of God the Father for us is shown in his giving us His Holy Spirit, so also is it shown in this way, by his gift of his only Son.

The Apostle says God commendeth signifying thereby that the love of God is a thing which cannot be measured. This is shown by the very fact of the matter, namely the fact that He gave His Son to die for us, and it is shown also by reason of the kind of people we are for whom He died. Christ was not stirred up to die for us by any merits of ours, when as yet we were sinners. God (who is rich in mercy) for His exceeding charity wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together in Christ (Eph. ii. 4).


3. All these things are almost too much to be believed. A work is done in your days, which no man will believe when it shall be told (Habac. i. 5). This truth that Christ died for us is so hard a truth that scarcely can our intelligence take hold of it. Nay it is a truth that our intelligence could in no way discover. And St. Paul, preaching, makes echo to Habacuc, I work a work in your days, a work which you will not believe, if any man shall tell it to you (Acts xiii 14).

So great is God's love for us and His grace towards us, that He does more for us than we can believe or understand.




Dernière édition par Javier le Dim 08 Mar 2020, 6:50 am, édité 1 fois
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Message  Javier Dim 08 Mar 2020, 6:50 am

Second Sunday

God the Father Delivered Christ to His Passion

God spared not even His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all.--Rom. viii. 32.


Christ suffered willingly, moved by obedience to His Father. Wherefore, God the Father delivered Christ to His Passion, and this in three ways:


1. Because the Father, of His eternal will, preordained the Passion of Christ as the means whereby to free the human race. So it is said in Isaias, The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isa. liii. 6), and again, The Lord was pleased to bruise Him in infirmity (ibid. liii. 10).


2. Because He inspired Our Lord with the willingness to suffer for us, pouring into His soul the love which produced the will to suffer. Whence the prophet goes on to say, He was offered because it was His own will (Isa. liii. 7).


3. Because He did not protect Our Lord from the Passion, but exposed him to his persecutors. Whence we read in St. Matthew's Gospel, that as He hung on the cross Christ said, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me (Matt, xxvii. 46). For God the Father, that is to say, had left him at the mercy of His torturers.

To hand over an innocent man to suffering and to death, against His will, compelling him to die as it were, would indeed be cruel and wicked. But it was not in this way that God the Father handed over Christ. He handed over Christ by inspiring Him with the will to suffer for us. By so doing the severity of God is made clear to us, that no sin is forgiven without punishment undergone, which St. Paul again teaches when he says, God spared not his own Son. At the same time God's goodheartedness is shown in the fact that whereas man could not, no matter what his punishment, sufficiently make satisfaction, God has given man someone who can make that satisfaction for him. Which is what St. Paul means by, He delivered Him up for us all, and again when he says, God hath proposed Christ to be a propitiation, through faith in His blood (Rom. iii. 25). The same activity in a good man and in a bad man is differently judged inasmuch as the root from which it proceeds is different. The Father, for example, delivered over Christ and Christ delivered himself, and this from love, and therefore They are praised. Judas delivered Him from love of gain, the Jews from hatred, Pilate from the worldly fear with which he feared Caesar, and these are rightly regarded with horror. Christ therefore did not owe to death the debt of necessity, but of charity --the charity to men by which He willed their salvation, and the charity to God by which He willed to fulfil God's will, as it says in the gospel, Not as I will but as Thou wilt (Matt, xx vi. 39).


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Message  Javier Lun 09 Mar 2020, 6:17 pm

Monday After the Second Sunday

It was fitting that our Lord should suffer at the hands of the Gentiles

They shall deliver Him to the Gentiles to be mocked, and scourged and crucified.--Matt. xx. 19.


In the very manner of the Passion of Our Lord its effects are foreshadowed. In the first place, the Passion of Our Lord had for its effect the salvation of Jews, many of whom were baptised in His death.

Secondly, by the preaching of these Jews, the effects of the Passion passed to the Gentiles also. There was thus a certain fitness in Our Lord's Passion beginning with the Jews and then, the Jews handing Him on, that it should be completed at the hands of the Gentiles.

To show the abundance of the love which moved Him to suffer, Christ, on the very cross, asked mercy for His tormentors. And since He wished that Jew and Gentile alike should realise this truth about His love, so He wished that both should have a share in making Him suffer.

It was the Jews and not the Gentiles who offered the figurative sacrifices of the Old Law. The Passion of Christ was an offering through sacrifice, inasmuch as Christ underwent death by His own will moved by charity. But in so far as those who put him to death were concerned, they were not offering a sacrifice but committing a sin.

When the Jews declared, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death (John xix. 31), they may have had many things in mind. It was not lawful for them to put anyone to death on account of the holiness of the feast they had begun to keep. Perhaps they wished Christ to be killed not as a transgressor of their own law but as an enemy of the state, because He had made Himself a king, a charge concerning which they had no jurisdiction. Or again, they may have meant that they had no power to crucify which was what they longed for but only to stone, as they later stoned St. Stephen. Or, the most likely thing of all, that their Roman conquerors had taken away their power of life and death.


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Message  Javier Mer 11 Mar 2020, 8:52 am

Tuesday After the Second Sunday

The Passion of Christ brought about our salvation
because it was a meritorious act


They shall deliver Him to the Gentiles to be mocked, and scourged and crucified.--Matt. xx. 19.


Grace was given to Christ not only as to a particular person, but also as far as He is the head of the Church, in order that the grace might pass over from Him to His members. And the good works Christ performed, therefore, stand in this same way in relation to Him and to His members, as the good works of any other man in a state of grace stand to himself.

Now it is evident that any man who, in a state of grace, suffers for justice sake, merits for himself, by this very fact alone, salvation. As is said in the gospel, Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice sake (Matt. v. 10). Whence Christ by His Passion merited salvation not only for Himself but for all His members.

Christ, indeed, from the very instant of His conception, merited eternal salvation for us. But there still remained certain obstacles on our part, obstacles which kept us from possessing ourselves of the effect of what Christ had merited. Wherefore, in order to remove these obstacles, it behoved Christ to suffer (Luke xxiv. 46).

Now although the love of Christ for us was not increased in the Passion, and was not greater in the Passion than before it, the Passion of Christ had a certain effect which His previous meritorious activity did not have. The Passion produced this effect not on account of any greater love shown thereby, but because it was a kind of action fitted to produce that effect, as is evident from what has been said already on the fitness of the Passion of Christ.

Head and members belong to one and the same person. Now Christ is our head, according to His divinity and to the fullness of His grace which overflows upon others also. We are His members. What Christ then meritoriously acquires is not something external and foreign to us, but, by virtue of the unity of the mystical body, it overflows upon us too (3 Dist. xviii. 6).

We should know, too, that although Christ by His death acquired merit sufficient for the whole human race, there are special things needed for the particular salvation of each individual soul, and these each soul must itself seek out. The death of Christ is, as it were, the cause of all salvation, as the sin of the first man was the cause of all condemnation. But if each individual man is to share in the effect of a universal cause, the universal cause needs to be specially applied to each individual man.

Now the effect of the sin of the first parents is transmitted to each individual through his bodily origin (i.e., through his being a bodily descendant of the first man). The effect of the death of Christ is transmitted to each man through a spiritual rebirth, a re-birth in which man is, as it were, conjoined with Christ and incorporated with Him.

Therefore it is that each individual must seek to be born again through Christ, and to receive those other things in which works the power of the death of Christ.


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Message  Javier Mer 11 Mar 2020, 9:01 am

Wednesday After the Second Sunday

The Passion of Christ brought about our salvation
because it was an act of satisfaction


He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for those of the whole world.--I John ii. 2.


1. Satisfaction for offences committed is truly made when there is offered to the person offended a thing which he loves as much as, or more than, he hates the offences committed.

Christ, however, by suffering out of love and out of obedience, offered to God something greater by far than the satisfaction called for by all the sins of all mankind, and this for three reasons. In the first place, there was the greatness of the love which moved Him to suffer. Then there was the worth of the life which He laid down in satisfaction, the life of God and man. Finally, on account of the way in which His Passion involved every part of His being, and of the greatness of the suffering he undertook.

So it is that the Passion of Christ was not merely sufficient but superabundant as a satisfaction for men's sins. It would seem indeed to be the case that satisfaction should be made by the person who committed the offence. But head and members are as it were one mystical person, and therefore the satisfaction made by Christ avails all the faithful as they are the members of Christ. One man can always make satisfaction for another, so long as the two are one in charity.


2. Although Christ, by His death, made sufficient satisfaction for original sin, it is not unfitting that the penal consequences of original sin should still remain even in those who are made sharers in Christ's redemption. This has been done fittingly and usefully, so that the penalties remain even though the guilt has been removed.

(i) It has been done so that there might be conformity between the faithful and Christ, as there is conformity between members and head. Just as Christ first of all suffered many pains and came in this way to His glory, so it is only right that His faithful should also first be subjected to sufferings and thence enter into immortality, themselves bearing as it were the livery of the Passion of Christ so as to enjoy a glory somewhat like to His.


(ii) A second reason is that if men coming to Christ were straightway freed from suffering and the necessity of death, only too many would come to Him attracted rather by these temporal advantages than by spiritual things. And this would be altogether contrary to the intention of Christ, who came into this world that He might convert men from a love of temporal advantages and win them to spiritual things.

(iii) Finally, if those who came to Christ were straightway rendered immortal and impassible, this would in a kind of way compel men to receive the faith of Christ, and so the merit of believing would be lessened.

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Message  Javier Ven 13 Mar 2020, 5:40 am

Thursday After the Second Sunday

That the Passion of Christ brought about its effect
because it was a Sacrifice



A sacrifice properly so called is something done to render God the honour specially due to Him, in order to appease Him. St. Augustine teaches this, saying, "Every work done in order that we may, in a holy union, cleave to God is a true sacrifice, every work, that is to say, related to that final good whose possession alone can make us truly happy." Christ in the Passion offered Himself for us, and it was just this circumstance that He offered Himself willingly which was to God the most precious thing of all, since the willingness came from the greatest possible love. Whence it is evident that the Passion of Christ was a real sacrifice.

And as He Himself adds later. The former sacrifices of the saints were so many signs, of different kinds, of this one true sacrifice. This one thing was signified through many things, as one thing is said through many words, so that it may be repeated often without beginning to weary people.

St. Augustine speaks of four things being found in every sacrifice, namely a person to whom the offering is made, one by whom it is made, the thing offered and those on whose behalf it is offered. These are all found in the Passion of Our Lord. It is the same person, the only, true mediator Himself, who through the sacrifice of peace reconciles us to God, yet remains one with Him to whom He offers, who makes one with Him those for whom He offers, and is Himself one who both offers and is offered.

It is true that in those sacrifices of the old law which were types of Christ, human flesh was never offered, but it does not follow from this that the Passion of Christ was not a sacrifice. For although the reality and the thing that typifies it must coincide in one point, it is not necessary that they coincide in every point, for the reality must go beyond the thing that typifies it. It was then very fitting that the sacrifice in which the flesh of Christ is offered for us was typified by a sacrifice not of the flesh of man but of other animals, to foreshadow the flesh of Christ which is the most perfect sacrifice of all. It is the most perfect sacrifice of all.


(i) Because since it is the flesh of human nature that is offered, it is a thing fittingly offered for men and fittingly received by men in a sacrament.

(ii) Because, since the flesh of Christ was able to suffer and to die, it was suitable for immolation.

(iii) Because since that flesh was itself without sin, it had a power to cleanse from sin.

(iv) Because being the flesh of the very offerer, it was acceptable to God by reason of the unspeakable love of the one who was offering his own flesh.



Whence St. Augustine says, "What is there more suitably received by men, of offerings made on their behalf, than human flesh, and what is so suitable for immolation as mortal flesh? And what is so clean for cleansing mortal viciousness as that flesh born, without stain of carnal desire, in the womb and of the womb of a virgin? And what can be so graciously offered and received as the flesh of our sacrifice, the body so produced of our priest?"

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Message  Javier Ven 13 Mar 2020, 5:46 am

Friday After the Second Sunday

Feast of the Holy Winding Sheet

Joseph taking the body, wrapped it up in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new monument.-- Matt, xxvii. 59.


By this clean linen cloth three things are signified in a hidden way, namely:

(i) The pure body of Christ. For the cloth was made of linen which by much pressing is made white and in like manner it was after much pressure that the body of Christ came to the brightness of the resurrection. Thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise again from the dead the third day (Luke xxiv. 46).

(ii) The Church, which without spot or wrinkle (Eph. v. 27), is signified by this linen woven out of many threads.

(iii) A clear conscience, where Christ reposes.


And laid him in his own new monument. It was Joseph's own grave and certainly it was somehow appropriate that he who had died for the sins of others should be buried in another man's grave.

Notice that it was a new grave. Had other bodies already been laid in it, there might have been a doubt which had arisen. There is another fitness in this circumstance, namely that he who was buried in this new grave, was He who was born of a virgin mother.

As Mary's womb knew no child before Him nor after Him, so was it with this grave. Again we may understand that it is in a soul renewed that Christ is buried by faith, that Christ may dwell by faith in our hearts (Eph. iii. 17).

St. John's Gospel adds, Now there was in the place where He was crucified, a garden ; and in the garden a new sepulchre (John xix. 41). Which recalls to us that as Christ was taken in a garden and suffered His agony in a garden, so in a garden was He buried, and thereby we are reminded that it was from the sin committed by Adam in the garden of delightfulness that, by the power of His Passion, Christ set us free, and also that through the Passion the Church was consecrated, the Church which again is as a garden closed.




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Message  Javier Sam 14 Mar 2020, 10:17 am

Saturday After the Second Sunday

The Passion of Christ wrought our salvation by redeeming us

St. Peter says, You were not redeemed with corruptible things as gold or silver, from your vain conversation of the tradition of your fathers: but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled (I Pet. 1. 18).


St. Paul says, Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us (Gal. iii. 13). He is said to be accursed in our place inasmuch as it was for us that He suffered on the cross. Therefore by His Passion He redeemed us.

Sin, in fact, had bound man with a double obligation.

(i) An obligation that made him sin's slave. For Jesus said, whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin (John viii. 34). A man is enslaved to whoever overcomes him. Therefore since the devil, in inducing man to sin, had overcome man, man was bound in servitude to the devil.

(ii) A further obligation existed, namely between man and the penalty due for the sin committed, and man was bound in this way in accord with the justice of God. This too was a kind of servitude, for to servitude or slavery it belongs that a man must suffer otherwise than he chooses, since the free man is the man who uses himself as he wills.


Since then the Passion of Christ made sufficient, and more than sufficient, satisfaction for the sins of all mankind and for the penalty due to them, the Passion was a kind of price through which we were free from both these obligations. For the satisfaction itself that by means of which one makes satisfaction, whether for oneself or for another is spoken of as a kind of price by which one redeems or buys back oneself or another from sin and from merited penalties. So in Holy Scripture it is said, Redeem thou thy sins with alms (Dan. iv. 24).

Christ made satisfaction not indeed by a gift of money or anything of that sort, but by a gift that was the greatest of all, by giving for us Himself. And thus it is that the Passion of Christ is called our redemption.

By sinning man bound himself not to God but to the devil. As far as concerns the guilt of what he did, he had offended God and had made himself subject to the devil, assenting to his will.

Hence he did not, by reason of the sin committed, bind himself to God, but rather, deserting God's service, he had fallen under the yoke of the devil. And God, with justice if we remember the offence committed against Him, had not prevented this.

But, if we consider the matter of the punishment earned, it was chiefly and in the first place to God that man was bound, as to the supreme judge. Man was, in respect of punishment, bound to the devil only in a lesser sense, as to the torturer, as it says in the gospel, Lest the adversary deliver thee to the judge and the judge deliver thee to the officer (Matt. v. 25), that is, to the cruel minister of punishments.

Therefore, although the devil unjustly, as far as was in his power, held man whom by his lies he had deceived bound in slavery, held him bound both on account of the guilt and of the punishment due for it, it was nevertheless just that man should suffer in this way. The slavery which he suffered on account of the thing done God did not prevent, and the slavery he suffered as punishment God decreed.

Therefore it was in regard to God's claims that justice called for man to be redeemed, and not in regard to the devil's hold on us. And it was to God the price was paid and not to the devil.


To be continued...

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Message  Javier Dim 15 Mar 2020, 6:22 am

Third Week in Lent Sunday

It is the Passion of Christ that has freed us from sin

He hath loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood.--Apoc. 1. 5.


The Passion of Christ is the proper cause of the remission of our sins, and that in three ways

1. Because it provokes us to love God. St. Paul says, God commendeth his charity towards us; because when as yet we were sinners Christ died for us (Rom. v. 8 ).

Through charity we obtain forgiveness for sin, as it says in the gospel, Many sins are forgiven her because she hath loved much (Luke vii. 47).


2. The Passion of Christ is the cause of the forgiveness of sins because it is an act of redemption. Since Christ is Himself our head, He has, by His own Passion undertaken from love and obedience delivered us His members from our sins, as it were at the price of His Passion. Just as a man might by some act of goodness done with his hands buy himself off for a wrong thing he had done with his feet. For as man's natural body is a unity, made up of different limbs, so the whole Church, which is the mystical body of Christ, is reckoned as a single person with its own head, and this head is Christ.


3. The Passion of Christ was a thing equal to its task. For the human nature through which Christ suffered His Passion is the instrument of His divine nature. Whence all the actions and all the sufferings of that human nature wrought to drive out sin, are wrought by a power that is divine.

Christ, in His Passion, delivered us from our sins in a causal way, that is to say, He set up for us a thing which would be a cause of our emancipation, a thing whereby any sin might at any time be remitted, whether committed now, or in times gone by, or in time to come: much as a physician might make a medicine from which all who are sick may be healed, even those sick in the years yet to come.

But since what gives the Passion of Christ its excellence is the fact that it is the universal cause of the forgiveness of sins, it is necessary that we each of us ourselves make use of it for the forgiveness of our own particular sins. This is done through Baptism, Penance and the other sacraments, whose power derives from the Passion of Christ.

By faith also we make use of the Passion of Christ, in order to receive its fruits, as St. Paul says, Christ Jesus, whom God hath proposed to be a propitiation, through faith in His blood (Rom. iii 25). But the faith by which we are cleansed from sin is not that faith which can exist side by side with sin --the faith called formless-- but faith formed, that is to say, faith made alive by charity. So that the Passion of Christ is not through faith applied merely to our understanding but also to our will. Again, it is from the power of the Passion of Christ that the sins are forgiven which are forgiven by faith in this way.


To be continued...


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Message  Javier Lun 16 Mar 2020, 11:23 am

Monday After the Third Sunday

The Passion of Christ has delivered us from the devil.


Our Lord said, as His Passion drew near, Now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to myself (John xii. 31, 32)

He was lifted up from the earth by His Passion on the cross. Therefore by that Passion the devil was driven out from his dominion over men.

With reference to that power, which, before the Passion of Christ, the devil used to exercise over mankind, three things are to be borne in mind.


1. Man had by his sin earned for himself enslavement to the devil, for it was by the devil's temptation that he had been overcome.

2. God, whom man in sinning had offended, had, by his justice, abandoned man to the enslavement of the devil.

3. The devil by his own most wicked will stood in the way of man's achieving his salvation.


With regard to the first point the Passion of Christ set man free from the devil's power because the Passion of Christ brought about the forgiveness of sin. As to the second point the Passion delivered man from the devil, because it brought about a reconciliation between God and man. As to the third point, the Passion of Christ freed us from the devil's power because in his action during the Passion the devil over-reached himself. He went beyond the limits of the power over men allowed to him by God, when he plotted the death of Christ, upon whom, since he was without sin, there lay no debt payable by death. Whence St. Augustine's words, "The devil was overcome by the justice of Christ. In Him the devil found nothing that deserved death, but, none the less, he slew him. And it was but just that those debtors that the devil detained should go free since they believed in Him whom, though he was under no bond to him, the devil had slain."


The devil still continues to exercise a power over men. He can, God permitting it, tempt them in soul and in body. There is, however, made available for man a remedy in the Passion of Christ, by means of which he can defend himself against these attacks, so that they do not lead him into the destruction of eternal death. Likewise all those who before the Passion of Christ resisted the devil had derived their power to resist from the Passion, although the Passion had not yet been accomplished. But in one point none of those who lived before the Passion had been able to escape the hand of the devil, namely, they all had to go down into hell, a thing from which, since the Passion, all men can, by his power, defend themselves.


God also allows the devil to deceive men in certain persons, times and places, according to the hidden character of His designs. Such, for example, will be Antichrist. But there always remains, and for the age of Antichrist too, a remedy prepared for man through the Passion of Christ, a power of protecting himself against the wickedness of the devils. The fact that there are some who neglect to make use of this remedy does not lessen the efficacy of the Passion of Christ.


To be continued...
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Message  Javier Mer 18 Mar 2020, 8:42 am

Tuesday After the Third Sunday

Christ is truly our Redeemer

You were redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled.--I Pet. 1. 19.


By the sin of our first parents, the whole human race was alienated from God, as is taught in the second chapter of the epistle to the Ephesians. It was not from God's power that we were thereby cut off, but from that sight of God's face to which His children and His servants are admitted.

Then again we descended beneath the usurped power of the devil. Man had consented to the devil's will and, thereby, had made himself subject to the devil; subject, that is to say, as far as lay in man's power, for since he was not his own property, but the property of another, he could not really give himself away to the devil.

By His Passion, then, Christ did two things. He freed us from the power of the enemy, conquering him by virtues which were the very contraries to the vices by which he had conquered man --by humility, namely, by obedience and by an austerity of suffering that was in direct opposition to the enjoyment of forbidden food.

Furthermore, by making satisfaction for the sin committed, Christ joined man with God and made him the child and servant of God.

This emancipation had about it two things that make it a kind of buying. Christ is said to have bought us back or to have redeemed us inasmuch as He snatched us from the power of the devil, as a king is said, by hard-fought battles, to redeem his kingdom that the enemy has occupied. Christ is again said to have redeemed us inasmuch as He placated God for us, paying as it were the price of His satisfaction on our behalf, that we might be freed both from the penalty and from the sin.

This price, His precious blood, He paid that He might make satisfaction for us not to the devil but to God. Again, by the victory that His Passion was, He took us away from the devil.

The devil had indeed had dominion over us, but unjustly, since what power he had was usurped. Nevertheless, it was but just that we should fall under his yoke, seeing that it was by him we were overcome. This is why it was necessary that the devil should be overcome by the very contrary of the forces by which he had himself overcome. For he had not overcome by violence, but by a lying persuasion to sin.


To be continued...
Javier
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Message  Javier Mer 18 Mar 2020, 9:25 am

Wednesday After the Third Sunday

The Price of Our Redemption

You are bought with a great price.--I Cor. vi. 20


The indignities and sufferings anyone suffers are measured according to the dignity of the person concerned. If a king is struck in the face he suffers a greater indignity than does a private person. But the dignity of Christ is infinite, for He is a divine person. Therefore, any suffering undergone by Him, even the least conceivable suffering, is infinite. Any suffering at all, then, undergone by Him, without His death, would have sufficed to redeem the human race.

St. Bernard says that the least drop of the blood of Christ would have sufficed for the redemption of us all. And Christ could have shed that one drop without dying. Therefore, even without dying he could, by some kind of suffering, have redeemed, that is, bought back, all mankind.

Now in buying two things are required, an amount equal to the price demanded and the assigning of that amount to the purpose of buying. For if a man gives a price that is not equal in value to the thing to be bought, we do not say that he has bought it, but only that he has partly bought it, and partly been given it. For example, if a man buys for ten shillings a book that is worth twenty shillings, he has partly bought the book and it has, partly, been given to him. Or again, if he puts together a greater price but does not assign it to the buying, he is not said to buy the book. If therefore when we speak of the redemption and buying back of the human race we have in view the amount of the price, we must say that any suffering undergone by Christ, even without His death, would have sufficed, because of the infinite worth of His person. If, however, we speak of the redemption with reference to the setting of the price to the purpose in hand, we have then to say that no other suffering of Christ less than His death, was set by God and by Christ as the price to be paid for the redemption of man kind. And this was so for three reasons:

1. That the price of our redemption should not only be infinite in value, but be of the same kind as what it bought, i.e., that it should be with a death that He bought us back from death.


2. That the death of Christ would be not only the price of our redemption but also an example of courage, so that men would not be afraid to die for the truth. St. Paul makes mention of this and the preceding cause when he says, That, through death, He might destroy him who had the empire of death (this is the first cause), and might deliver them, who through the fear of death were all their lifetime subject to servitude (this for the second cause) (Heb. ii. 14, 15)


3. That the death of Christ might be a sacrament to work our salvation; we, that is, dying to sin, to bodily desires and to our own will through the power of the death of Christ. These reasons are given by St. Peter when he says, Christ who died once for our sins, the just for the unjust; that He might offer us to God, being put to death indeed in the flesh, but enlivened in the spirit (1 Pet. iii. 18).


And so it is that mankind has not been redeemed by any other suffering of Christ without His death.

But, as a matter of fact, Christ would have paid sufficiently for the redemption of mankind not only by giving His own life but by suffering any suffering no matter how slight, if this slight suffering had been the thing divinely appointed, and Christ would thereby have paid sufficiently because of the infinite worth of His person.


To be continued...


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Javier
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Message  Javier Jeu 19 Mar 2020, 7:12 am

Thursday After the Third Sunday

The preaching of the Samaritan woman

The woman therefore left her water-pot, and went her way
into the city.--John iv. 28.



This woman, once Christ had instructed her, became an apostle. There are three things which we can gather from what she said and what she did.

1. The entirety of her surrender to Our Lord. This is shown:

(i) From the fact that she left lying there, almost as if forgotten, that for which she had come to the well, the water and the water-pot. So great was her absorption. Hence it is said, The woman left her water-pot and went away into the city, went away to announce the wonderful works of Christ. She cared no longer for the bodily comforts in view of the usefulness of better things, following in this the example of the Apostles of whom it is said that, Leaving their nets they followed the Lord (Mark 1. 18).

The water-pot stands for fashionable desire, by means of which men draw up pleasures from those depths of darkness signified by the well, that is, from practices which are of the earth earthy. Those who abandon such desires for the sake of God are like the woman who left her water-pot.

(ii) From the multitude of people to whom she tells the news, not to one nor to two or three but to a whole city. This is why she went away into the city.


2. A method of preaching.

She saith to the men there: Come, and see a man who has told me all things whatsoever I have done. Is not He the Christ?--John iv. 29.

(i) She invites them to look upon Christ: Come, and see a man--she did not straightaway say that they should give themselves to Christ, for that might have been for them an occasion for blasphemy, but, to begin with, she told them things about Christ which were believable and open to observation. She told them He was a man. Nor did she say, Believe, but come and see, for she knew that if they, too, tasted of that well, looking that is upon Our Lord, they, too, would feel all she had felt. And she follows the example of a true preacher in that she attracts the men not to herself but to Christ.

(ii) She gives them a hint that Christ is God when she says, A man who has told me all things whatsoever I have done, that is to say, how many husbands she had had. She is not ashamed to bring up things that make for her own confusion, because the soul, once it is lighted up with the divine fire, in no way looks to earthly values and standards, cares neither for its own glory nor its shame, but only for that flame which holds and consumes it.

(iii) She suggests that this proves the majesty of Christ, saying, Is not he the Christ? She does not dare to assert that He is the Christ, lest she have the appearance of wishing to teach others, and the others, irritated thereat, refuse to go out to Him. Nor, on the other hand, does she leave the matter in silence, but she puts it before them questioningly, as though she left it to their own judgment. For this is the easiest of all ways of persuasion.


3. The Fruit of Preaching.

They therefore went out of the city and came unto Christ.--John iv. 30.


Hereby it is made clear to us that if we would come to Christ, we too must go out of the city, which is to say, we must lay aside all love of bodily delights.

Let us go forth therefore to Him without the camp (Heb. xiii. 13).


To be continued...

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Message  Javier Ven 20 Mar 2020, 5:26 am

Friday After the Third Sunday

It is by the Passion of Christ that we have been freed
from the punishment due to sin


Surely he hath borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows.--Isaias liii. 4.


By the Passion of Christ we are freed from the liability to be punished for sin with the punishment that sin calls for, in two ways, directly and indirectly.

We are freed directly inasmuch as the Passion of Christ made sufficient and more than sufficient satisfaction for the sins of the whole human race. Now once sufficient satisfaction has been made, the liability to the punishment mentioned is destroyed.

We are freed indirectly inasmuch as the Passion of Christ causes the sin to be remitted, and it is from the sin that the liability to the punishment mentioned derives.


Souls in hell, however, are not freed by the Passion of Christ, because the Passion of Christ shares its effect with those to whom it is applied by faith and by charity and by the sacraments of faith. Therefore the souls in hell, who are not linked up with the Passion of Christ in the way just mentioned, cannot receive its effects.

Now although we are freed from liability to the precise penalty that sin deserves, there is, nevertheless, enjoined on the repentant sinner a penalty or penance of satisfaction. For in order that the effect of the Passion of Christ be fully worked out in us, it is necessary for us to be made of like form with Christ. Now we are made of like form with Christ in baptism by the sacrament, as is said by St. Paul, We are buried together with him by baptism into death (Rom. vi. 4). Whence it is that no penalty of satisfaction is imposed on those who are baptised. Through the satisfaction made by Christ they are wholly set free. But since Christ died once for our sins (1 Pet. iii. 18), once only, man cannot a second time be made of like form with the death of Christ through the sacrament of baptism. Therefore those who, after baptism, sin again, must be made like to Christ in His suffering, through some kind of penalty or suffering which they endure in their own persons.

If death, which is a penalty due to sin, continues to subsist, the reason is this: The satisfaction made by Christ produces its effect in us in so far as we are made of one body with Him, in the way limbs are one body with the head. Now it is necessary that the limbs be made to conform to the head. Wherefore since Christ at first had, together with the grace in His soul, a liability to suffer in His body, and came to His glorious immortality through the Passion, so also should it be with us, who are His limbs. By the Passion we are indeed delivered from any punishment as a thing fixed on us, but we are delivered in such a way that it is in the soul we first receive the spirit of the adoption of sons, by which we are put on the list for the inheritance of eternal glory, while we still retain a body that can suffer and die. It is only afterwards, when we have been fashioned to the likeness of Christ in His sufferings and death, that we are brought into the glory of immortality. St. Paul teaches this when he says, If sons heirs also; heirs indeed of God, and joint heirs with Christ: yet so, if we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified with Him (Rom. viii. 17).


To be continued...
Javier
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Message  Javier Sam 21 Mar 2020, 10:01 am

Saturday After the Third Sunday

The Passion of Christ Reconciles us to God

We were reconciled to God through the death of His Son.--Rom. v. 10


The Passion of Christ brought about our reconciliation to God in two ways.


1. It removed the sin that had made the human race God's enemy, as it says in Holy Scripture, To God the wicked and his wickedness are alike hateful (Wis. xiv. 9), and again, Thou hatest all the workers of iniquity (Ps. v. 7).

Secondly, the Passion was a sacrifice most acceptable to God. It is in fact the peculiar effect of sacrifice to be itself a thing by which God is placated: just as a man remits offences done against him for the sake of some acknowledgment, pleasing to him, which is made. Whence it is said, If the Lord stir thee up against me, let him accept of sacrifice (1 Kings xxvi. 19). Likewise, the voluntary suffering of Christ was so good a thing in itself, that for the sake of this good thing found in human nature, God was pleased beyond the totality of offences committed by all mankind, as far as concerns all those who are linked to Christ in His suffering by faith and by charity.

When we say that the Passion of Christ reconciled us to God we do not mean that God began to love us all over again, for it is written, I have loved thee with an everlasting love (Jer. xxxi. 3). We mean that by the Passion the cause of the hatred was taken away, on the one hand by the removal of the sin, on the other hand by the compensation of a good that was more than acceptable.


2. As far as those who slew Our Lord were concerned the Passion was indeed a cause of wrath.

But the love of Christ suffering was greater than the wickedness of those who caused Him to suffer. And therefore the Passion of Christ was more powerful in reconciling to God the whole human race, than in moving God to anger.

God's love for us is shown by what it does for us. God is said to love some men because He gives them a share in His own goodness, in that vision of His very essence from which there follows this that we live with Him, in His company, as His friends, for it is in that delightful condition of things that happiness (beatitude) consists.

God is then said to love those whom He admits to that vision, either by giving them the vision directly or by giving them what will bring them to the vision as when he gives the Holy Spirit as a pledge of the vision.


It was from this sharing in the divine goodness, from this vision of God's very essence, that man, by sin, had been removed, and it is in this sense that we speak of man as deprived of God's love.

And inasmuch as Christ, making satisfaction for us by His Passion, brought it about that men were admitted to the vision of God, therefore it is that Christ is said to have reconciled us to God.


To be continued...
Javier
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